mordicai caeli (mordicai) wrote,
mordicai caeli

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Promethean: the Created by White Wolf.

my favorite recent over-all realization was when david succinctly pointed out that roleplaying games are by football field sized leaps & bounds, the most post-modern pieces of literature. the notion wasn't foreign to me, but he tagged it. all the better that the medium doesn't recognize its post-modernity. once upon a time my favorite fun-fact about roleplaying books were their ridiculous value, per use. how many times have i consulted page 135 of the dungeon master's guide to check on theoretical character wealth? sure the books cost twice the price of a novel, but judged by the amount of use? a steal. the thing is, i've gotten away from that, with my recent sub-realization that roleplaying books, as books, can just be purchased & enjoyed without even really an inkling of a idea that you might actually play it.

the book i've really enjoyed this past week has been promethean: the created, which is white wolf's "new" world of darkness most recent core book. first, it is interesting that they seem to have devised a better core book strategy: while they are supporting three lines full-on (vampires, werewolves, & mages) they are also putting out "limited" lines (of which the next is changeling: the lost, so colour me excited). given wraith: the oblivion & changeling: the dreaming loyal fan base but rotten sales, i can only applaud the acumen of the sales team. some of the nooks & crannys of the "old" world of darkness, like mummy, the risen, whatever, had some really good stuff, but not exactly the legs to stand on. the new limited series idea is a great place to put that hachet. i'm excited, frankly.

one of the reasons i like this promethean game so much is that it posits a mythological link where there isn't one, but completely sells it. the premise of the game is that you play an artificially created form of life, of which there are five known ilk, each of which take after a progenitor: frankenstein, osiris, galetia, the golem, & some siberian guy named ulgan (though the alternative origin for that lineage, orpheus, is much better i think). forging a link between the golem & frankenstein is old hat, but connecting the mummy in there is a stroke of genius, & then tossing in poor pygmalion? fits just right. i am a little bummed by the golem & galetia being corpses, misremembered by legend, but the solution to that leads to the other thing about the game that fascinates me. sure, the golem & galetia are corpses, but the major thematic element of the book is alchemy, so when you say golems are aligned with the element of earth & galetiads are air, it really means something. the ties to alchemy extend not just to the backstore & to the powers available to the created, but to the over-all flavor & to the heavy-handed moral goal that all white wolf games must have. yes, the old lead into gold adage is symbolic for spiritual purification; in the case of the created, they want to alchemically refine themselves a soul.

ah, the white wolf system. so simple, so alluring. once upon a time the late great kingtycoon wanted me to run a fantasy setting with the world of darkness rules, & i think sometimes he may have been right. the real reasons i havn't done so are two-fold. first, white wolf just doesn't support people very well. you can't be just a guy, but then really, but 12th level, how many dnd characters arn't wizards? even my mostly-mundane players in my low-magic setting are warlocks of no mean caliber. the second issue is just one of every dungeon master's fantasy that his intricate setting will one day see print, which is not all that crazy given the open game license. i really need to conquer lethargy & fear of rejection, speaking of, & submit something to dragon.
Tags: books, rpgs, wod

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